Pierce Pioneer

National Anthem Crisis

Should you kneel, stand, or sit?


Justin Ngo/Contributing Photos

Nathan DiCarlo (left) and Doug Carson (right) were interviewed about the NFL protests.

National Anthem Crisis

Updated October 16, 2017 at 5 p.m.

The protests began with the NFL player, Colin Kaepernick, nearly thirteen months ago and his motivations were clear. He was bringing awareness towards police brutality and the racial inequality present in the U.S. and his protest was widely discussed. The player engaged in a hiatus from football and now the protests gained traction through Donald’s Trump tweet.

On Sept. 25th, Donald Trump wrote a tweet calling out the players for their protest and how it disrespects veterans and the U.S. This tweet help acted like a catalyst and motivated some players to protest less, but others protested more than ever.  The motivations behind the current protests are either against Donald Trump, police brutality, or racial inequality.

The protests have been supported by some veterans, athletes, and even students here on campus. Basketball player Frank Banks, who is studying kinesiology have to said, “I understand the motivation behind their protests and how they don’t tolerate police brutality and the racial problems in America. I also understand how the song was made for veterans, but it doesn’t matter if people disrespect the flag because people of color are still getting disrespected.”

Another form of protesting observed is raising a fist in solidarity of racial inequality and police brutality. This form of protesting also refers towards the Black Panther movement and this form of protesting hasn’t been commented on. Some athletes like Frank Banks also claim how the national anthem have direct historical roots of slavery and racism.

The athletic director, Duncan Steven said, “I think it’s creating a conversation in the U.S. about injustice and inequality. We don’t have a policy on protesting, but we allow our players to express their freedom of speech and protest.”

Veteran student, Nathan DiCarlo, who is studying graphic design said, “They make a good point by bringing awareness to police brutality and racial equality. It’s a silent protest and their exercising their rights. The same constitutional rights that I fought for them. “

Operations manager, Doug Carson said, “I think Colin Kaepernick and the other players have a constitutional right to protest, but the owners can choose to fire the players as well. “

Part of the source for the protests can be found in a verse of the national anthem. It refers to “hirelings and slaves” and some have used it to highlight how the national anthem has direct racism and mention of slavery. It also could also be taken as a metaphorical sense, as hirelings refers to the poorer class.

As more people become engaged in the protest, it will continue to evolve. One thing is for certain, it is an issue that will not fade.

Local Activism Sparking Social Change

Social Justice is becoming a hot topic


Streets have been flooded with protestors throughout the country, and those in Tacoma have not been left out. Massive protests have drawn thousands to march; one of the more notable was Woman's march, that spanned through Olympia, Tacoma, and Seattle, as well as being a global protest crossing every time zone. More recently, the March for Science that took place Earth day, just one month ago bringing hundreds of protestors out once again.

Local and national activism have skyrocketed since the 2016 presidential election, with politics and protests flowing right into mainstream news and becoming a hot topic for people in every social group.

Sparks began nationally after the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th, 2014. The subsequent protests gained international notoriety, and started a domino effect of activism including other protests and the formation of organizations concerned with a wide variety of social issues.

The most highly publicized issues include things such as immigration, refugees, police brutality, woman’s rights, indigenous treaties, climate change, and LGBT+. The progress made for these issues in the last couple years has spiked as the general public is growing more aware of the many social injustices in the United States and around the world. Pierce County is no exception to this conflagrating activism. Many grass roots groups work throughout the county in efforts against environmental destruction, deportation of immigrants, and discrimination.

Some of the largest marches that have taken place in locally just within the last year include the Woman’s March, the Tax March, and the March for Science. Each had between a few hundred to over ten thousand participants taking a stand, and steps, for a better world.

Pierce College has hosted an event by the People’s Assembly of Tacoma called 'The Takeback' over the last few weeks. This local activist group was formed to promote the advancement of oppressed communities and to spread a message of equality amongst all groups. During the event they use open discussion to encourage people with all perspectives and walks of life to speak up about problematic experiences in their communities, as well as speeches and activities to express their purpose.

Sarah Morken, a prevalent local activist, explains how she began; "I didn't dive headlong into activism. I dabbled for a while when an issue came up that really grabbed me personally." She and her group Redline Tacoma have worked on projects and protests to fight the building of a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) pipeline in Tacoma that has the potential to be extremely dangerous for the local community. She also works with groups like Green Party Tahoma, Youth Activism Pierce County, and Tacoma Direct Action. She is a icon for the many ways in which anyone can become involved in political movements.

Rallies and events have sprung up all across the county, ranging from small groups of people discussing issues, to numbers in the thousands turning out for marches. There are ways anyone can express their views and become a part of an influential movement for change in their community.

Resist Hate.

One voice, turning into millions participate in march.


On Jan. 21, 2017, an estimated 2.6 million people marched, some in outrage, some in protest. Some marched to express what they saw as an unfair result to the presidential election. Others joined out of concern for how Donald Trump’s policies were going to affect women’s rights, immigration, and Muslim communities.

In the days that followed, Trump picked his advisers and began to lay out policies that came from his campaign promises. People began to see a growing animosity towards certain groups. The Muslim ban and emphasis on illegal immigration only seemed to add fuel to the hostility.

Here on campus, students have expressed uncertainty and fear. Ishmael Rodriguez, a student pursuing general studies, echoed their concerns. “What I see, I don’t agree with the policies. They create distrust and fear. I can see where their fear about being deported is coming from; I’m Puerto Rican and share the same fear.”

When looking at the news feed on any social media outlets, it doesn’t take long to see the growing divide among people. Accusations on Facebook display a definite polarization. If someone voted for Trump, then automatically that person is labeled racist and supports bigotry. On the other hand, in sharing news reports one can be accused of promoting “alternative facts.”

Dennis Escobar, a student pursuing an AA/DTA, sees mainstream media as a contributing factor towards the antagonistic attitudes. “Media seems to be focusing on what’s wrong, what’s dividing us. I see them manipulating the truth to serve their own interests,” he said.

In his opinion, self-interest groups can also add to the division. By focusing only on their agenda they limit the conversation that could be had to find common ground for a solution. “I see a lot of hate and it is not just one way, but they tend to reciprocate,” Escobar said. “A simple conversation won’t be possible until their leaders stop focusing on themselves and start focusing also on others. People need be willing to sit at the table to ask, “Are you okay? What can I do to help?”

Getting involved in the community is a great way to combat the sense of helplessness many feel. Still, it can be difficult to know how to take a stand and resist hate.

One of the newest members to the college, Oneida Blagg, has some ideas to consider. She is the Executive Officer of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Basically what she does is bridge the resources between students and their achievement goals.

She had this advice: “Being informed and being respectful of opposing points of view are the best things. College is learning about academic ideas and how to present them civilly. Talking about controversial things is important. Do you want a good idea to be rejected because of how it was delivered? Talking in angry tones can prevent a conversation towards a solution. Learn how to respond rather than react.”

The global march in January grew from a statement one person made on Facebook, “I think we should march.” News reports and pictures show what could happen if one became thousands, then millions. What can one person do? Apparently quite a lot.
















Violence erupts around the world in wake of announcement

Protests and civil disturbances happen after the grand jury edited not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown


Dominic Wilkerson / Staff Photo

Protestors and police face off at 12th and Pike in Seattle. Anger and disbelief can be felt among the protestors.

November 24, 2014, millions of people sat around their tv set to hear the verdict on rather or not the grand jury would indict Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown during an altercation back in August. Family members of Brown and hundred of other people gathered outside the courthouse awaiting the verdict.

Bob McCulloch, St. Louis County prosecuting attorney, stepped out from behind a door to in front of the cameras to announce the verdict. After several minutes of talk about how and why they came up with the verdict, McCulloch announced there would be no indictment.

While most would think this would be closure to the situation, that was far from the truth. Protesters filled the street in Ferguson, where the protesting turned into rioting. As President Obama was making his statement on the situation, video of a burning police car played on the screen.

The police set up their line against the rioters, but came under gunfire from the mob on several occasions. About a dozen buildings around Ferguson were torched to the ground by the rioters. In some occasions even the reporters were hurt by the crowd while trying the cover the event.

Protests were not limited to Ferguson. Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Seattle were just a few cities around the US to have protest.  Understanding the hostile environment that I could be facing  picked up my camera and went to Seattle to cover the protest.

Marching to several locations around Seattle, the protesters were met by police at every turn. Seattle police department kept the public updated on their Twitter feed about what was going on. On the first night, the protest centered around Capitol Hill.

The gatherings were rather peaceful until they gained access to I-5 northbound, causing traffic to come to a halt. One Washington State trooper’s vehicle was damaged while trying to get the protesters off the freeway. This group of protesters were the ones marching around downtown Seattle.

Several locations around downtown Seattle had barricades set up to keep the protesters back from certain locations like the police department. I showed up to 12th and Pike where one of these barricades were set up. There were about 15-20 officers and around 10-15 protesters.

I managed to get an interview with one of the protesters, Jus Moni of Seattle,  whom I assume withheld her legal name in fear of being prosecuted.

What is the main reason that you are out here protesting?

JM: “I am demonstrating my rights. I have a young black man that I am refusing to plan a funeral for at four years old. I believe war is coming and I know who’s side I stand on.”

Have you been here all night?

JM: “I have been here a few hours. I was here with the crowd, but they dispersed.”

Are the cops at least being respectful to the gathering of protesters?

“I don’t know if you can call it respectful. I can tell you looking into some of these officers eyes they do not want to be here. A part of this story is offering our hand to those who don’t know the truth. Allowing them, not any more time, but allowing them space for redemption.”

Over the next week, the protest around Seattle got larger. During Black Friday, protesters filled the Westlake Center, causing it to close 3 hours early.

Ed Murray, Mayor of Seattle, released a news statement about the situations of the week.
“While I understand the hurt and frustration that our city has experienced in the past day, this is a city that respects the rule of law. I support the First Amendment rights of the people, but violence against property or police officers will not be tolerated in our city.”

Protest all over the world interrupted the day to day lives. A video appeared of protesters tearing down the fence at the parliament building in London and rushing the field as police tried to hold them back. In Los Angles, like other cities, protesters filled the highways causing commuters to be late to work which caused confrontations between commuters and protesters.

Wilson resigned from the Ferguson Police Department last week.

“I, Darren Wilson, hereby resign my commission as a police officer with the City of Ferguson effective immediately. I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow,” Wilson stated in his letter of resignation.

Wilson will not receive his severance package for resigning per the Mayor of Ferguson.

Racial debates and arguments erupted across many social media platforms. The KKK (Ku Klux Klan) stated they would back up the police force in Ferguson, while Anonymous (an organization of known hackitvist) posted personal data of the KKK leader.

This is still an ongoing situation that will be updated on our website after this issue.


About the Contributor
Photo of Dominic Wilkerson
Dominic Wilkerson, Managing Editor

Dominic Wilkerson is the Managing Editor of The Pioneer. Please contact me at [email protected] or 253-964-6604. The Pioneer office is located in...

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